“Speak softly and carry a big stick.” – Teddy Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States
Throughout history, there have been many leaders who were renowned for their charisma, soaring rhetoric and populist appeal. They offered platitudes and promises. But sadly, their rhetoric didn’t always lead to results, which is the ultimate barometer by which a leader should be judged.
For the past five years, I have heard whispers and even overt complaints that leader of the opposition Honorable Lennox Linton is anti-social. His detractors say his failure to “smile” and “say hello” consistently is troubling. So this begs the question: Who is this man? After all, his radio personality projects a different image — one of a bubbly, outspoken, endearing and assertive individual.
Mr. Linton is an intriguing man. His patriotism and passion for developing Dominica in all sectors has endeared him to the masses. His weekly talk show — “Between You and Me” — has helped to inform the public as he has undertaken the role of being his country’s de facto ombudsman. He is forthright, honest, inspiring, humorous, kind and candid. Yet he seems to be branded in a negative way of being an introvert. Some believe “introvert” is tantamount to being aloof or even weird. Mr. Linton does not fit any of those descriptions. He is not arrogant, shy or antisocial. Instead, he is an observer, a listener and reserved. That’s his personality, and it would be unfair and farfetched to suggest an introvert should be excluded or disqualified from public office.
Introversion is best described as “a personality trait characterized by a focus on internal feelings rather than on external sources of stimulation.” Although there are still many misconceptions about Mr. Linton’s personality, psychologists have stated that it is important to know that introversion does not mean social anxiety or shyness. Introverts tend to be focused more on internal thoughts, feelings and moods. But that does not mean they are incapable of public speaking or articulating their opinions. Mr. Linton has clearly demonstrated those actions.
Forbes magazine stated: “In an increasingly distracted and fast-changing world, we need thoughtful, calm leaders whose capacity for focus and observation are absolutely necessary for teams.” It also states that “Introverts are often misunderstood and undervalued in our mostly extroverted workplaces and cultures. Their lack of seeking attention is often misconstrued as lack of ambition, lack of ability to connect with people or lack of being able to influence and lead others.”
That being said, we can safely boast of the thoughtfulness and calmness of the honorable opposition leader. The plight of the country warrants a level-headed leader, one who can be a pragmatist and reassuring presence amid turmoil. History has proven many times that charm and charisma can be entertaining, but those two qualities are often utilized to mask deception.
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